Is the Q-Snap Frame Better for Counted Cross Stitch?

Q-Snap frames provide an alternative to traditional hoops and frames. Composed of PVC type tubes and corners, fabric can be draped over it and held in place by a "C"-shaped clamp on each side.

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These excellent frames are made with individual PVC-type tubes connected at the corners. Fabric is draped over the frame, then four ribbed clamps fit over the sides to hold the material taut during stitching.

Purpose of the Q-snap Frame

The Q-snap frame works as an alternative to hoops and scroll frames to keep fabric taut during stitching. As with the other methods, using Q-snaps result in more consistent stitches.

Characteristics of the Q-snap Frame

  • four sides of the Q-Snap frame are made from hollow, PVC-like tubes with elbow connectors
  • a "C"-shaped piece clamps over each side

Consider placing a thin strip of fabric or paper between the frame and the clamp to protect stitches.

  • the inside surface of the clamps are ribbed inside to improve grip
  • common in standard 6", 8", 11" and 17" squares, as well as some larger sizes (used by quilters)
  • can purchase pairs in varying lengths for building other dimensions
  • are hand-held or can be attached to some stands for hands-free stitching

Advantages of the Q-snap frame

  • keeps your fabric taut as you embroider
  • like hoops, some stitchers feel Q-Snap(TM) frames help maintain consistent stitch tension and appearance
  • light weight
  • portable
  • when attached to a stand, the Q-Snap frame leaves both hands free, allowing those who use the stab method to keep one hand above and the other hand below the fabric, which increases your stitching speed
  • because the fabric wraps around a smooth tube, the Q-snap frame doesn't leave severe creases in the fabric the way hoops can
  • extender kits and pair sets allow you to build frames in other configurations
  • replacement clamps, corners and sides available online from manufacturer, Q-snap

If you need to order replacement parts, go to Q-snap's website (link above), and click on "All Products" in the left menu under "Product Catalog." A quick "Find" using your browser will turn up the part you're looking for. (Use Ctrl-F for Windows or Cmd-F for Mac.)

Things to Consider

  • when ordering replacement parts, note that the corners, or elbows, come in the original style (referred to, by Q-Snap, as "knuckle els") and a newer style (described by the company as "smooth interlocking els"); the clamps used for each are not always compatible
  • clamps can become loose over time (some users suggest putting the clamps through a hot water cycle in the dishwasher to restore the original grip)
  • using the right size frame for your fabric may affect the tension
  • some stitchers find it necessary to file down or otherwise smooth the edges of the clamps so the fabric and stitches aren't damaged from repeated clamping and un-clamping
  • placing a thin strip of fabric or paper between the frame and the clamp helps protect the fabric and stitches
  • some have been unsatisfied with the performance of a similar generic product, but pleased when replaced with a genuine Q-snap(TM) frame
  • occasional user reviews complain of hand getting tired from holding this thicker frame
  • unless attached to a stand, either one hand must hold the frame while the other hand stitches, or you must prop up the Q-Snap(TM) to free both hands
  • you should remove your fabric from the Q-SnapTM when not stitching


Q-SnapsTM can be purchased in some stores in standard configurations. Many sizes are available online at Amazon. If you have Amazon Prime, you may not need to pay for shipping. Look for the "Prime" next to the price.

Prices below are approximate and subject to change.

Size Cost On Sale
6" x 6" $12 $9
8" x 8" $13 $10
11" x 11" $16 $13
11" x 17" $17 $15
17" x 17" $19 $16

You can find them elsewhere online, but you will usually have to add shipping charges. (Shipping will not be as much of an issue if combined with other items). The full product line, additional pairs that allow you to mix and match pieces, and replacement clamps and other parts can be bought directly from Q-Snap(TM) on their website.

Be careful when buying additional clamps, as some lengths differ from one frame to another because of the corner design change mentioned above.


  • If you enjoy using a hoop or scroll frame, there is no substitute for trying this product yourself. Look for product reviews by users to look for situations that mirror your own. The smaller frames can be had for around $10 on sale. And since the positive reviews seem to outweigh the negative ones, I recommend trying one.
  • If you are a first-time stitcher, follow the evaluation process described under hoops.) Hoops are cheaper and easier to find, and will give you a chance to try stitching with and without a device of some sort. From there, if you like having your fabric held tightly, try either a scroll frame or a Q-SnapTM for your next small project. Then switch midway through stitching to try the other. If you really like the counted cross stitch craft, finding tools that increase your productivity and enhance your enjoyment is always worthwhile.
  • If you like Q-Snaps frames, ask yourself: What is my typical project size? Do I work on more than one project at a time? Will I want to use a stand? These answers may help you decide whether to buy several frames, or simply add some frame pairs and clamps to build your own configurations.
  • Remember to loosen the tension on your project when you are not stitching. This preserves both your stitching and your frame. And for extra protection, slip some tissue paper or a strip of material between the side clamps and your cross stitch fabric.

For information on other ways of keeping fabric taut while stitching, see our pages on embroidery hoops and scroll frames.

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When I purchased my first q-snap frame I noticed that the on-line store also sold q-snap covers made to fit the different size q-snap frames. I went ahead …

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